Electrical safety is crucial in preventing electrical accidents, which can be fatal. Electrical hazards can occur in the home, workplace, and other areas, making it essential to take proper safety measures to prevent electrical shocks, fires, and other related accidents. With that in mind, here are some electrical safety tips and tricks for homeowners & business owners to help you maintain your electrical systems and devices and keep them running smoothly.
Electrical safety tips and tricks For each season of the year
Spring is a good time to perform regular maintenance on all outdoor electrical items. Use the following list of electrical safety tips and tricks as a guideline to check all your outdoor lighting and electrical outlets:
- Inspect all weather-proof covers for exterior plugs and switches. Upgrade to the new “in use” type covers. Make sure they are properly sealed and that there are no cracks in the covers. This will ensure that water and moisture don’t enter the box causing corrosion or power loss.
- Check landscape lighting for broken or damaged light fixtures or insulation on wiring.
- Check that all landscape and exterior lights are working properly and that there are no burnt out bulbs. LED bulbs or fixtures are a good idea. Keep your home well-lit to prevent accidents and to protect your home from burglary. Consider installing motion sensor lights for any that need replacing.
- Make sure that extension cords are not being permanently used outside. Extension cords are not designed to withstand varying weather conditions and can deteriorate over time and cause an electrical shock – consider adding an additional exterior plug instead.
Once the warmer weather is here, consider taking these electrical safety tips and tricks for electrical efficiency, safety and convenience:
- Check cord ends for wear or damage – if plugs fall out of the outlet, it means there is a poor electrical connection, they need to be replaced.
- Many plug in air conditioners require a dedicated circuit to ensure that you are not overloading existing circuits. If you are using an air conditioner and your circuits are tripping, give us a call – we can install a dedicated circuit plug.
- Installing a timer as a summer switch on your central air furnace to circulate fresh air throughout the house will reduce the need for fans and air conditioners—saving you energy and money. If you are thinking of getting a heat-pump installed, a dedicated circuit must be installed by a certified electrician.
- For your pool or hot-tub ensure that the GFI protection is functioning properly. Electrical components for pools often experience a lot of wear due to placement near the pumps. Ensure your electrical is not corroded or oxidized to prevent energy loss or malfunction.
- Installing a bank of solar panels to take advantage of the sun’s energy and reduce your energy costs. Solar panels also provide power in the event of a power outage and reduce your carbon footprint. Federal and Provincial rebates and incentives are available. Right now (February 2023) there is a $5000 rebate and a $40,000 10yr interest free loan available
- Consider installing an attic fan to remove hot air and keep your house cool reducing the need for fans and air conditioners.
- Bring power to your outdoor living area for music, ponds, waterfalls, mini-fridges, etc. Permanently installed extension cords are prohibited by the Canadian Electrical Code. Install permanent weatherproof wiring for safety and better esthetics.
- All exterior wiring should be UV rated and weather proof and any outdoor receptacle within 15 feet of grade must be GFI protected – deficiencies can result in power loss or even electrocution. Call us today for a free evaluation if you are concerned about your outdoor wiring and receptacles.
If you are installing a sprinkler system, consider installing a timer so it comes on automatically, allowing you to travel without having to worry about your lawn. Contact us today for a quote!
Once it starts getting colder, it’s a good idea to perform regular maintenance on all outdoor electrical items. Use the following list of electrical tips for homeowners as a guideline to check all your outdoor lighting and electrical outlets:
- Inspect all weather-proof covers for exterior plugs and switches. Make sure they are properly sealed and that there are no cracks in the covers. This will ensure that water and moisture don’t enter the box causing corrosion, power loss or even a potentially fatal shock! Check landscape lighting for broken or damaged insulation on wiring.
- Check that all landscape and exterior lights are working properly and that there are no burnt out bulbs or broken fixtures.
- Keep your home well-lit to prevent accidents or protect your home from burglary.
- Consider going with motion sensor lights for any that need replacing.
- All exterior wiring should be UV rated and weather proof and any outdoor receptacle within 15 feet of grade must be GFI protected – deficiencies can result in power loss or even electrocution – call us today for a free evaluation if you are concerned about your outdoor wiring and receptacles.
Keep your home and family safe over the holiday season by following our electrical safety tips at home guidelines below:
- Install an outdoor plug controlled by a timer in the soffit rather than running extension cords for Christmas lights. Extension cords are not as safe and don’t look as nice.
- Use the proper lights for the environment. Indoor light strings/sets should not be used outdoors because they lack weatherproof connections. Also outdoor light strings/sets can burn too hot indoors causing a potential fire hazard.
- Inspect light strings/sets before use. Check for cracked bulbs and for frayed, broken or exposed wires, and discard if faulty.
- Do not use electric light strings/sets on metallic trees. A faulty system could energize the tree and shock or electrocute anyone coming into contact! Illuminate metallic trees with coloured floodlights placed at a safe distance from the tree and out of reach.
- There is often a tendency to overload wall outlets during the holiday season. This is dangerous and could cause a shock or create a fire hazard.
- To avoid possible overheating, do not coil or bunch extension cords being used. Do not run extension cords under carpets or rugs.
- Use only Canadian Standards Association (CSA) certified light strings/sets. Off shore sets are cheaper, but do not meet safety standards.
Turn off all tree and display lights before retiring for the night or before leaving the house. Consider installing a programmable in-wall timer – reduce your energy costs and keep your home and family safe!
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Do you have electrical problems?
Older homes, apartments and businesses sometimes have inadequate wiring which can be both a fire hazard and an electrical hazard. Symptoms of inadequate wiring can include:
- One appliance must be disconnected in order to plug another in
- Lights or outlets simply don’t work
- Sparks occur when you plug an item into an outlet
- “Octopus” outlets are used extensively
- Extension cords are used extensively
- Fuses blow frequently
- Circuit breakers trip frequently
- Appliances such as toasters or irons are slow to heat
- Lights dim noticeably when another appliance is used
- Furniture arrangement is limited because there are too few outlets
- Rooms and stairways must be entered in darkness because of a lack of three or four-way light switches
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may have electrical issues. Call Pacific Star Electric for a free quote and assessment of how we can resolve your electrical issues and ensure your home is safe from electrical fires. Be sure to read our checklist from the CMHC “Hiring a Contractor” (PDF) before you hire us or any other electrical contractor!
Keeping your home and family safe
- Replace any item that causes electrical shocks, overheats, shorts out or produces smoke or sparks.
- Use only three-slot outlets for appliances with three-prong plugs.
- Use safety closures to help child-proof outlets.
- Buy products which meet the CSA or ULC Underwriter’s Laboratory standards for safety.
- Check the expiry date and replace all smoke alarms that have expired or are more than 10 years old as the radioactive material in the sensing chamber dissipates over time.
- Test smoke alarms each time you switch your calendar every month or consider installing a “hard-wired” system.
Building codes now require combination carbon monoxide/smoke alarms on all new construction. Replace old smoke alarms with carbon monoxide/smoke alarms.
Call Pacific Star Electric for a free quote and assessment of how we can resolve your electrical issues and ensure your home electrical is safe and efficient . Be sure to read our checklist from the CMHC “Hiring a Contractor” (PDF) before you hire us or any other electrical contractor!
Consider these home maintenance Electrical tips
- Install dimmers on interior lights – dimmers save energy and extend bulb-life (a light dimmed to 90% will last twice as long).
- Install timers or photo-cells on exterior lights – reduce your energy bill and protect your home from burglary by keeping the exterior well-lit.
- Install 30 or 60–minute electronic timers on all bathroom exhaust fans to save energy and avoid mold and mildew.
- Consider having your electrical connections inspected and tightened periodically. Electricity is generated at a speed of 60Hz per second. This means that the electrical power is changing direction and effectively shutting off 60 times in one second. This causes vibration, which will loosen all connections over time.